June 4, 2019
LINDY WASHBURN | NORTH JERSEY RECORD
The union representing 450 nurses and other health professionals at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center has reached a three-year contract with the hospital’s new operators, reversing nearly 20 years of tense labor negotiations at the county-owned institution in Paramus.
The Health Professionals and Allied Employees local was the last of seven unions to negotiate a new contract with Care Plus Bergen since it took over operation of the hospital in October 2017. Care Plus Bergen is a non-profit partnership of Care Plus NJ, Integrity House and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
The contract includes increases in tuition reimbursement and other incentives to encourage nurses to pursue more advanced degrees and certifications, salary increases of 10 to 11 percent over the life of the contract, and increased flexibility to use time off for sick or bereavement leave, said Bridget Devane, a union spokeswoman.
The two-month negotiations “were collaborative from the first day of bargaining,” said Jeff Peck, president of the local. “This brings relief to us as health professionals, as we can now work together to make our hospital a premier facility.”
Deborah Visconi, the hospital’s president and CEO, said the “agreement is a reflection of our focus on quality and safety” and showed that the two sides had “mutual respect for the mission and vision” of the institution.
Bergen New Bridge, formerly known as Bergen Regional Medical Center, is New Jersey’s largest public hospital, with more than 1,000 beds in acute care, behavioral health, substance-abuse treatment and long-term care.